Unicorns are magic. There are so many theories as to why unicorns are so popular; we thought this article on Refinery29 by Arianna Davis was one of the best. Here it is so you know too.
If you bothered to take a stroll through midtown Manhattan at the end of April (2017), you very likely saw the lines of young professionals in their gray suits and dull heels outside of Starbucks buzzing for their Unicorn Frappucinos. (Hell, you might have been one of them.) But it wasn’t just there. On Fifth Avenue, a sign outside a shiny hair salon offered up a special on unicorn hair — for “women, men, boys, and girls.” Downtown in Brooklyn, residents curiously popped in and out of a new paraphernalia store with unicorn headband horns, confetti, and sparkly tulle skirts in the window. Over in Queens, a flea market stall featured a table stacked with unicorn-printed T-shirts, a cartoon unicorn smiling down angelically from a poster.
We have officially hit the very peak of the unicorn trend — the tippy top of a vibrant, magical rainbow where Katy Perry songs are on repeat and the clouds are made of dreams and cotton candy. On Instagram, feeds are flooded with users showing off everything from their unicorn body glitter (also unfortunately nicknamed “unicorn snot”) to their unicorn bagels, pool floats, macarons, sequined jeans, grilled cheeses, high-top sneakers, iPhone cases, nail decals, and sushi rolls. Facebook? Overflowing with endless unicorn makeup tutorials. Even the highbrow fashion world is not immune: Collection Drake’s J. Crew Midnight Unicorn pajama set, a dramatic silky number that cost $396, completely sold out. And last year, Valentino’s series of unicorn-inspired items, from a little black dress to a bomber jacket, were seen on the likes of Emilia Clarke and Jennifer Lopez.
Although unicorns were indeed a cultural touchstone of the ’90s — thanks to My Little Pony and the vibrant hearts-and-kitties-and-unicorns imagery of Lisa Frank — it wasn’t until recently that the imaginary beings made a comeback. Google Trends confirms that there’s been a steady rise in the search term “unicorns” since 2012, a fascination that, according to their graph, reached hysteric proportions during the five days this April when the Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino was available.
But what started unicorn mania?
This is not the first time we’ve been infatuated with these beings, of course. The earliest written reference to the blue-eyed animals with horns was way back in the 4th century B.C.E. Over time, they became popular folklore fodder, and as fables have it, they could only be lured by the naked breasts of virginal women. Fast forward a millennia or two, and somehow unicorns evolved from icons of chastity and purity embroidered on 15th century tapestries to the sparkly-eyed, pastel-hued toys that dominated the “girls” aisle in the 1980s.
“This obsession with unicorns is nothing new — with social media, we’ve just found a different way to show it,” says Vaughn Scribner, an assistant history professor at the University of Central Arkansas who studies mythical creatures. “In the 18th century, the smartest men in the world were running around trying to find unicorns and mermaids and monstrosities. Our society has always shared a wondrous hope that maybe a whimsical notion could be proven true.”
But in 2016, unicorns morphed from a millennia-long symbol revered mostly in smaller superfan groups…read more here.